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Last update 03-06-2020) 

The tribe is a territorial group whose members name a common founder .and relations between segments within the tribe are frequently expressed in kinship terms. There is too little information about the internal structure and composition of the tribe, however, to decide whether the terms “clan “or “maximal lineage “ I could be correctly applied to them. Each tribe contains a number of compact villages, comprising two or more wards, which break down into extended families”.

There is no direct information on the composition of the “extended family,”l but the presence of alternative forms of marriage which involve different patterns of residence and affiliations suggests that in some cases its core may be a bilateral rather than a unilateral descent group. This argument applies fortiori to relations between descent groups and territorial units of a higher order.
The ward (ede) consists of a number of contiguous descent groups which commonly claim descent from a single founder. It seems formerly to have been a exogamous unit, but marriage prohibitions have recently tended to break down particularly in those areas most affected by Islam.

The village is a collection of wards which, in most cases, recognize a legendary common founding ancestor It is not always possible, however, to identify either ward or village with a single descent group; the Afatevbeda ward of Agbede (Aviele) for example, is of very heterogeneous composition. In some Avianwu, Ibie, and Uwepa-Uwano villages certain wards claim seniority over others and the right to appoint the village headman.

The correspondence between territorial units and descent groups in the Ekperi tribe was destroyed by the scattering which occurred at the time of the Nupe Invasion. The new settlements which were formed further south contained elements from different villages, wards, and extended families. The original social units, however, continue to maintain some cohesion in such matters as title-taking and other ceremonial affairs.
The Uzairhue people say that they and the Ekperi. Avianwu, and UwepaUwano are descended from one Benin man, Oluku.

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